Yankees eye series win over Mets

Phil Hughes was dominant in his previous start and will try to build off that tonight for the New York Yankees in the middle portion of a three-game interleague series versus the Mets in the Bronx.

Hughes went the distance for the first time this season and for the second time in his career in Sunday's 5-1 win at Detroit. Hughes held the potent Tigers to a run and four hits with eight strikeouts and three walks, improving to 5-5 in 11 starts this season with a 4.96 earned run average. Hughes is 2-0 in his last three starts and has won four of his previous five decisions.

The right-hander is 3-2 in five starts at Yankee Stadium this season and 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in four career games (2 starts) against the Mets. Hughes hasn't lost since May 17 at Toronto.

New York will try to give Hughes as much run support as it did in Friday's 9-1 pounding of the Mets in the opener of the series. Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the third inning to set the tone early, while Cano went deep twice and finished with four RBI. All four homers were hit off Mets ace Johan Santana, who was coming off the first no-hitter in franchise history.

Hiroki Kuroda was the star on the mound for the Yankees and he tossed seven shutout innings of one-hit ball with seven strikeouts and one walk. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning as well for the Yankees, whose starters have pitched at least seven innings in each of the last seven outings. New York hurlers had an eight-game run of seven-plus innings from July 5-16, 2010.

"When you have got a guy on the mound who is working quick and throwing strikes, it's keeping you in the game and those are the guys you want to play defense for," Swisher said of his teammate. "Kuroda had a good rhythm in game tonight and we had the bats working."

Derek Jeter went 0-for-4 and had his 25-game hitting streak against the Mets come to an end. The Yankees have won 11 of their last 15 games and moved a season-high seven games over .500. They are 14-6 in series openers this season, including an 8-2 record at home, and one-half game behind Tampa Bay for the top spot in the American League East.

Meanwhile, the Mets were hoping Santana still had some magic left from his previous start, but he was the complete opposite in yielding six runs and seven hits, including all four home runs, in five innings. Elvin Ramirez took over for Santana and promptly surrendered three more runs over 1 2/3 innings.

"Overall, I felt good. It was just one of those days where things just didn't work out," Santana said about his outing.

Still, over the last 17 games, dating back to May 22, Mets starters are 10-3.

Lucas Duda drove in the Mets' only run in the top of the ninth. The Mets have lost four of five games since winning three in a row, are 1-3 on a nine-game road trip and sit 2 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead. Duda has five homers and 13 RBI in his previous nine games. Mets outfielder Jason Bay went 0-for-3 and hadn't played since April 23 because of a non-displaced fracture of a rib on the left side.

Toeing the rubber for the Mets tonight will be Dillon Gee. Gee hasn't tasted defeat since May 15 versus Milwaukee and is 2-0 in his past four starts with back-to-back no-decisions. In a 5-4 loss to St. Louis on Monday, Gee was reached for three runs -- two earned -- and six hits in seven innings.

Gee, a right-hander, owns a 4-3 mark in 11 starts this season to go along with a 4.48 earned run average. He hopes to keep his unbeaten record (3-0) on the road intact when he makes his fifth start away from home. Gee faced the Yankees for the first time in his career last July 2 in a 5-2 loss at Citi Field. He allowed four of the five runs in seven innings in that one.

The Yankees were 4-2 versus the Mets a year ago. The Bronx Bombers are 7-2-6 in the 15 season series with the Mets since interleague action started in 1997 and have the best winning percentage at 159-109 all-time against the Senior Circuit. Jeter is baseball's all-time interleague leader in hits (328) and runs (185).